Hunger Man – Running Games

27 Nov

hunger gamesAre the ‘Hunger Games’ just a retelling of ‘The Running Man’, a book written by Stephen King? Both feature stressful life threatening scenarios set in a dystopian society to entertain the masses. If you substitute late teenage early 20-year-old actors of varying skill, instead of 35-40 year olds and set the action in the woods instead of an urban environment, you have basically the same story. In the Hunger Games the protagonists have to fight against each other. In the Running Man they are chased by criminals who attempt to catch and kill them, all in the name of entertainment.Running Man

The Hunger Games feels like a modern remake. Fortunately for Hunger Games, The Running Man was a badly executed movie, so the comparison may not seem as valid. The Producers fired the Director in the first week of shooting and then the whole project went the way of the second Christopher Reeve – Superman movie. In Superman they replaced Richard Donner with Richard Lester. In the Running Man, Director Andrew Davis was replaced by Paul Michael Glaser.

The comparison between Running Man and Hunger Games isn’t exactly alike but the similarities between the two are considerable.

The plot in The Running Man is described as, “A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a TV game show.” There’s a love story between Ben (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Amber (Maria Conchita Alonso). Ben has to survive while falling in love with Amber.

Hunger ManThe Hunger Games (2012) is based on the 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins. “Set in a post-apocalyptic future where ‘the Capitol’ selects a boy and girl from the ‘twelve districts’ to fight to the death on live television. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.” There’s a love triangle in this one but like Running Man there are numerous people who try to help but are killed in the process.

Tell us what you think? Do these two books have sufficient similarities? Is Hunger Games an updated look at violent entertainment used by a dystopian society to re-direct their focus?



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One response to “Hunger Man – Running Games

  1. chrisbarfoot

    28/11/2013 at 10:05

    Very good point. There are similarities of course; many of today’s great movies have borrowed from the masterpieces of the past. Was ‘The Running Man’ a masterpiece? Well- certainly it is memorable- if only for the fact that Arnie starred in it.

    I found the future-world in ‘Hunger Games’ happily confusing, it cleverly referenced known themes- sort of historical facets, a pastiche perhaps on Renaissance period- France, and therefore… was weirdly entirely believable.

    Society is often reflected (as exampled from ancient Rome)- as the ‘mob’. We see it quite clearly, even today- in Sport. Rival teams play ‘against’ each other for the ultimate prize and they are supported by followers passionate about the game and the desire to win, to be better (by proxy) than the opposition, ultimately, to be the best. This is a basic human trait- indeed prevalent throughout nature. Females choose males with characteristics that are appealing for the purposes of reproduction… the strong will survive. Politics is fueled by similar drives.

    Yes, it’s ‘The Running Man’, and ‘Tron’ and a bit of ‘West World’ with elements of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ a tinge of ‘Logan’s Run’ and a splash of ‘Death-Race 2000’… in my humble opinion.

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